A parent’s plea for better understanding

Schools need to be understanding and inclusive, writer says

People who have challenged the stereotypical categories of gender have existed throughout all of human history. Gender variant individuals have existed in all cultures including Indigenous, Southeast Asian, South American, Caribbean, European, and African. Bottom line, it is a well known “fact” that transgender people have always existed.

That being said, due to discrimination, intolerance, and religious indoctrination, the transgender and non-binary population have been largely forced to live lives of secrecy, in a world that knew very little about them, and was not inclusive and accepting. Abusive practices, such as “Conversion Therapy” were often attempted, to try and “fix” people. Conversion Therapy is rapidly becoming banned across the USA, and is now banned in Vancouver. Bottom line, it was because of discriminatory, intolerant, hateful people that caused transgender people to live lives outside of the mainstream.

Many trans people waited long into adulthood to begin transitioning, because there has historically been a lack of support in every day society. Many adult trans people even resorted to transitioning back to their non-desired gender, only because it was easier to be accepted by family, friends, employers, etc.

Fortunately, due to advancements in the medical community and scientific studies, we now have access to real, credible information that has helped educate doctors, psychologists, as well as politicians and law makers. That has led to much more awareness, which has helped pave the way for laws to be passed that have provided protections for transgender people, that they never had before. Passing Bill C-16 which gave protections for transgender people wasn’t even a partisan effort… The federal Liberals, Green, NDP and Conservative Party all supported the bill, and approved it, giving “gender identity” and “gender expression” federal protections from discrimination and hate speech. The Criminal Code was even amended to include “gender identity” and “gender expression.”

For kids like mine, and families like mine, we are lucky to be going through this during a time where society has become open and accepting about a marginalized group of people that have for so long been ignored, shamed, and misunderstood.

The trans kids I meet, and their families and friends, all say the exact same thing. There is no “trend” going on. No trans kid I have ever met “chose” that, and to say otherwise comes from pure ignorance. The only trend I see, is a society that has become much more loving, accepting, and supportive.

To be clear about SOGI, if you support it, you support equality for all students, and are a decent human being who believes that kids like mine have the inherent right to attend school, where he is treated with respect, dignity, and can be his authentic self, without having to be shamed “into the closet”… If you are opposed to SOGI, what you are communicating is that you want LGBQT students to “remain in the closet”; not acknowledged in schools for who they are; made to feel shame for who they are; and be subjected to a higher than average level of discrimination and bullying by “straight / non-trans” fellow students.

At the end of the day, facts are facts. If anyone has a religious belief that makes them dislike a transgender person, or denies them for who they are, then you need to find yourself a new religion. If anyone just dislikes transgender people for no real reason, then I hope you find a way to open your heart and your mind, because accepting people who are born different than you, is actually a beautiful quality in a human being.

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that there are people who think it’s okay to not support LGBQT kids and their families in schools, and that these people are okay with these young kids going to school feeing shamed, alone, sad, and with no polices to help them. I feel sorry for anyone who is okay with that, because that is not what any decent human being would want, let-alone be advocating for.

Brad Dirks

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